Death: It doesn’t have to be boring or the End.

Apparently, “Where will I go when I die?” is a question that agitates a lot of people. Well now, i have an answer to that, at least for some people.

–When they die, they go to medical school.

“Death. It doesn’t have to be boring” (pp 10-11).And i tell you this book isn’t boring.

Dead bodies are not supposed to tell stories, especially not stories of a kind of terrible beauty, nor are they supposed to have a purpose. Dead bodies are just that: dead. But in Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, there’s witty, entertaining, yet honest and respectful revelation on something more than the often macabre state of cadavers: a sort of beauty and importance of dead bodies.


In the book where  there is telling of the of decomposing brains and the faulty smelling fat of a decaying body. There is also a fascinating account of good deeds of cadavers over the centuries and tells the engrossing story of how cadaver are so crucial for modern world health and safety.

“Death,” The author writes, “doesn’t have to be boring.” It can be useful. Dead bodies have been used for in benefit of medicine, science and life such as;

  1. Surgical techniques learning. ( Imagine the days when surgery was once taught on live patients without the benefit of anesthesia.)
  2. Safety & impact studies. ( Cadavers have made great contributions to the evolution of car safety, particular with regard to windshields )
  3. Environment (the human compost movement).
  4. Organ transplant. (“beating heart cadaver” having its still-functioning organs )
  5. Art (In plastination, a body part’s water is replaced with a silicone polymer, preserving it for display),

Its clear in Stiff that dead bodies are quite useful in many ways that i can’t all account here other like, through decomposition and putrefaction (forensics), and when shot at with bullets (protective gear design) and crashed into walls (automobile design), and in them being ripped apart piece a piece helping to shape future surgeons hands that will save many lives.

Here are some of my favorite excerpts from it…

“A Head Is a Terrible Thing to Waste,”
Ask a plastic surgeons practicing their face-lift techniques on donated human heads which are lying unceremoniously in roasting pans -like plates. 😀

“The pictures in the anatomy atlas did not show any nail polish or scars. “
Again they are not machines, they were once humans, with life and stories and as a students there is an insight into it, what we gain from the dissection experience, an experience that separates physicians in so many ways from the lay public.

Long story put short……

“Cadavers are our superheroes . . . This is a book about notable achievements made while dead” (p. 10).

So why not read it now, before you go for your first dissection? 

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